Five-time All-Star point guard — now a 47-year-old scout with the Heat — is disappointed he’s not joining the Hall in Springfield, Mass., this August alongside his former teammate Alonzo Mourning.
“I can’t really tell you my initial feelings,” Hardaway said of the Hall of Fame selection process before Tuesday night’s game against the Nets. “But I’m glad Zo got the call and he’s going in. I’m going to be there for him.”
“We should have went in together. But you know, what can I say? I don’t have any control over that. That’s the way it is,“ Hardaway continued, Miami Herald reported.
Hardaway, whose No. 10 is the only other Heat jersey retired and hung up alongside Mourning’s No. 33 inside AmericanAirlines Arena, was joined at the hip with the 6-10, seven-time All-Star center in 1996 by Pat Riley.
The duo laid the foundation for future Heat championships, winning multiple division titles and making a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals before the declining and aging Hardaway was traded away at age 34 following the 2001 season.
This was the second year in a row Hardaway was one of the finalists to get into the Hall of Fame and didn’t. Mourning was a first-ballot selection.
“It would have been the perfect scenario to have Tim go in with me. Unfortunately it didn’t happen that way,” Mourning said. “I know he’ll have his opportunity at some point and I’ll be there for it. He deserves it just as much as I do.”
“Obviously it’s a process for everybody. You got to think of individuals like [former Georgetown coach] John Thompson. He’s a third ballot Hall of Famer. He’s definitely deserving of a first ballot. I’m very, very fortunate and thankful I got in right away.”
Unlike the NFL and Major League Baseball, the NBA doesn’t have its own Hall of Fame. Instead, it’s a part of the all-encompassing Naismith Hall of Fame, which includes college basketball coaches and players and women’s basketball coaches and players.
The final selection process involves a 24-person Honors committee made up of Hall of Famers, basketball executives, media members and other contributors to the game. A finalist needs 18 votes to be enshrined. Hardaway has no idea how close or how far off he was from making it because the voting process is secret. All he said he got was a phone call telling him he didn’t get in.
Hardaway’s former teammate and friend, Mitch Richmond, with whom Hardaway played in Golden State, and who got voted for the Hall of Fame, said that he’s “praying” for Hardaway to get into the Hall of Fame.
“Hardaway was a great teammate of mine, a great friend. I know his day is coming. He definitely has my vote, I am looking forward to him joining the Hall of Fame, and other “Run TMC” members,” Richmond said.
Hardaway has three more chances to get voted in as a finalist. If he doesn’t make it in by then, his candidacy is suspended for five years before he’s eligible to become a finalist again.
For now, Hardaway says he’s just happy for Mourning.
“I’m happy, I’m ecstatic for him,” he said. “No question he deserves it. He worked hard for it. I’m going to be there [when he’s inducted]. I’m going to have fun like it was me.”
Hardaway played in the NBA from 1989 till 2003. During his career he was selected to the NBA All-Star games 5 times.
In 867 NBA games (770 started), he averaged 17.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 35.3 minutes per game.Follow @exnbadotcom
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